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Sweetgum

TREES

GENUS/SPECIES


Liquidambar styraciflua

FAMILY


Hamamelidaceae

SYNONYMS


Common: Gum, Sweet

DISTRIBUTION


Eastern US

  • E Texas eastward to central Florida
  • Florida northward to SE Connecticut
  • Connecticut southwestward to SE Illinois and E Texas
  • Absent from much of Appalachian region
  • Often cultivated in S California

Comments

Sweetgum is a very distinct species that becomes a large tree under suitable growing conditions, which typically involve moist soils. The leaves are rather star-shaped with their five or seven lobes. Flowers develop in the early spring, with male flowers in small clusters that soon fall from the tree, and female flowers in rounded clusters that ripen into a prickly ball over an inch in diameter. The rather abundant pollen is spread by wind.